Preliminary results of an ongoing study have shown that 1 of 4 children in central Harlem (a low-income section of New York City) has asthma?double the rate researchers expected to find. According to experts, it is among the highest rates ever documented for an American neighborhood and could indicate that the incidence of asthma is even greater in other poor, urban areas than was previously believed.
Through a program started last year by Harlem Hospital Center and Harlem Children?s Zone, a team set out to screen ~2200 children who live or attend school in a 24-square-block area of central Harlem. The team members asked about symptoms, listened to the children?s lungs, and measured the rate at which the children can exhale into a tube. Currently, the parents of 1401 of the children have filled out the questionnaires intended to identify possible signs of asthma, and 967 of the children have been examined. Researchers plan to publish their findings once all the children have been screened, which they hope will be this summer.